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    U.S. HHS Sec'y Issues Statement On Presidential Exec. Order Adding SARS To List of Quarantinable Communicable Diseases

    (April 5, 2003) -- U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services has issued a statement on the April 4 Executive Order signed by President Bush adding SARS to the list of communicable diseases for which one may be quarantined.

    SARS is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, a serious flu/pneumonia that has taken lives in Hong Kong, Vietnam and China...and has now spread to parts of Canada and the U.S.

    We post Secretary Thompson's statement in full below.

    The President today signed an executive order adding SARS to the list of quarantinable communicable diseases under the Public Health Service Act. The president signed the order after he received a detailed briefing on SARS from myself, Dr. Julie Gerberding of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

    By amending the list, we are simply taking the pragmatic step of readying all options as we continue to tackle this disease. This authority would only be used if someone posed a threat to public health and refused to cooperate with a voluntary request. We're working to be prepared for any eventuality.

    The Department of Health and Human Services, particularly the scientists at the CDC, remains pro-active in addressing SARS. We continue to monitor those coming into the United States from Asia, isolating those who are showing symptoms of SARS and providing them with medical care, informing those who may have been exposed to SARS what to do if they get symptoms, and personally following up with those who may have been exposed.

    Symptoms include coughing, fever and shortness of breath. Individuals with these symptoms who have recently returned from travel to mainland China, Hong Kong, Vietnam or Singapore should see a health care provider and inform them of their travel history. Clinicians should continue to report such cases to their state health department or the CDC.

    As separately reported by, Councilmembers Jackie Kell and Laura Richardson have agendized an item for the April 8 Council meeting, seeking a report on SARS (Severe Atypical Respiratory Syndrome) from LB City Hall's Director of Health & Human Services, Ronald Arias. (To view this article click Councilmembers Kell & Richardson Seek Report On SARS From LB Health Director @ April 8 Council Meeting.

    As of April 3, the CDC reported 30 suspected SARS cases in CA, the largest of any state (NY is second with 17). As of April 2, CA had 24 SARS cases; on March 21, it was six cases.

    Responding to an inquiry on April 4 from, L.A. County's Dept. of Health Services reports 7 suspected SARS cases in L.A. change in L.A. County's number of suspected SARS cases on March 31. On March 17, L.A. County reported one suspected SARS case.

    On April 3, as previously reported by, the Centers for Disease Control posted a web page with advice -- some very blunt -- for travelers concerning SARS (Severe Atypical Respiratory Syndrome), the serious flu/pneumonia that has taken lives in Hong Kong, Vietnam and China...and has now spread to parts of Canada and the U.S.

    Among other things, the CDC page states, "Donít go to mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Hanoi, unless you really have to." CDC's advice to travelers page is heavily hyperlinked, and we post a link to it at: CDC Advice to Travelers.

    The CDC website ( devotes a special page and detailed information on SARS at CDC detailed information on SARS.

    Readers should check the CDC SARS page for updates on this rapidly developing story.

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